Jessica Pegula's father Terry, who owns the NFL team Buffalo Bills, has been accused of saying a racist remark in a lawsuit filed by former NFL reporter Jim Trotter.
The father of the World No. 5 has owned the team with his wife Kim for almost ten years. The billionaire couple bought the team in 2014, three years after they purchased the Buffalo Sabres.
On September 12, Trotter - a former reporter for NFL Network - filed a lawsuit against the NFL and NFL Media after they did not renew his contract six months ago despite having worked there for five years. He alleged that their decision to stop working with him was partially due to the fact that he had been trying to hold the NFL accountable for its history of racial discrimination.
Pegula's father named in lawsuit
In a statement distributed by his lawyers, Trotter said that calling out the NFL cost him his job.
"The NFL has claimed it wants to be held accountable regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. I tried to do so, and it cost me my job. I’m filing this lawsuit because I can’t complain about things that are wrong if I’m unwilling to fight for what is right," he said.
Pegula's father is named in the 53-page lawsuit, in which he is accused of making a racist remark. The paragraph reads:
"Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Bills, stated in reference to player protests against racial injustice that, "If Black players don't like it here, they should go back to Africa and see how bad it is."
The lawsuit goes on to state that Trotter raised concerns about the remark but no action was taken.
This is just one example used in the lawsuit of what it describes as "Observed discriminatory and/or hostile conduct by his [Trotter's] employers - including by NFL team owners - that went entirely unchecked as a matter of standard operating procedure." Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was also accused of a similar racist comment in the lawsuit.
Terry Pegula has responded to the accusation with a statement in which he denies saying the racist remark.
"The statement attributed to me in Mr Trotter’s complaint is absolutely false. I am horrified that anyone would connect me to an allegation of this kind. Racism has no place in our society and I am personally disgusted that my name is associated with this complaint," he said.